This recipe was inspired by my friends at Imran’s in Birmingham, one of my all time favourite restaurants. They use lamb shanks in their version which is what I usually do too. This time, however I had a nice half leg of lamb that was calling out to be cooked so it ended up in the sauce.
Lamb nihari can be a real party piece. As it is slowly cooked for about three hours, there really isn’t much work to do. If you are having a large group over, you can easily double or triple this recipe.
I like this recipe for lamb nihari because the sauce has so much delicious flavour but it isn’t at all spicy. This means you can serve it to just about anyone. Additional garnishes of lemon wedges, fresh coriander, chopped chillies and julienned ginger can be added by guests at the table to taste.
I cooked the lamb leg on the bone for additional flavour it gives to my lamb nihari. Then I removed leg and cut the meat in big chucks off the bone before adding back into the curry.
If you love this recipe for lamb nihari try these other fantsatic Indian lamb recipes:
Railway Lamb Curry
Keralan Lamb Curry
Lamb Keema Saag Biryani
International & UK Orders
- ½ leg of lamb – tied tightly with twine
- 125ml (1 cup) rapeseed oil
- 1 tablespoon mace blades
- 1 whole nutmeg - broken into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 2 Asian bay leaves
- 1 x 2.5cm cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon nigella seeds
- 1 teaspoon cloves
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon chilli powder
- 45g Unsalted butter
- 1 large onion – thinly sliced
- 1 x 2.5 piece of ginger - finely chopped
- 1.2 litres water
- 2 generous teaspoons chapatti flour
- Garnishes For The Table
- 6 tablespoons finely julienned ginger
- 2 – 3 fresh green bird’s eye chillies – finely chopped
- A handful of freshly chopped coriander
- Lemon wedges
- Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large pot with a tight fitting lid.
- When hot and bubbly, add the leg of lamb and brown it all over for about seven minutes.
- Transfer the meat to a plate and discard all but about two tablespoons of the oil.
- Now place the mace, nutmeg, fennel seeds, Asian bay leaves, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, nigella seeds, cumin seeds and cloves in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder. This is a raw spice blend so no need to roast the spices first.
- Once ground, stir in the ground ginger, paprika and chilli powder and set aside.
- Melt the butter with the remaining oil and then fry the onion slices over medium high heat until soft and translucent.
- Pour in the ground spices and add the chopped ginger and stir it all up.
- Place the leg of lamb back in the pot and add 1.2 litres of water.
- Simmer for three hours over low heat with the lid on, turning the leg of lamb every half hour. You shouldn't need to add more water but if you do, just add a splash.
- When the lamb is so tender it falls off the bone, Remove it from the sauce.
- Whisk the chapatti flour with four tablespoons of cold water to make a paste.
- Stir this into the sauce and simmer for about three minutes to thicken.
- Cut the meat of the bone in large or small chunks and return to the sauce.
- Season with salt to taste.
- Serve hot with the garnishes at the table.
Thursday 29th of July 2021
I was thinking of trying this in a slow cooker with half leg of lamb on the bone? Any tips please? Maybe trimming some excess fat off before browning it in a pot - then transfering to the slow cooker? And serving it as a full half leg on a platter in which people can help their self?
Tuesday 3rd of August 2021
I think that sounds like a great idea. I have never used a slow cooker for that recipe but I would imagine it would work very well. Thanks Dan
Sunday 25th of July 2021
Is there an alternative to use instead of chapati flour? Thanks
Wednesday 4th of August 2021
Unfortunately there is not really an alternative to chapati flour but you can buy it on line and at Asian grocery stores. Thanks Dan
Friday 11th of January 2019
What weight would 1/2 a leg of lamb be please?
Monday 14th of January 2019
Hi Miles - To be honest, I have no idea. Really you're aiming for about 200g of meat per person.
Sunday 22nd of April 2018
HI DAN DID THIS LAMB NIHARI ,LAST NIGHT , ALL THE FAMILY THOUGHT IT WAS AMAZING, GREAT FLAVOURS AND A BIT SPICY. COOKED 3 FO YOUR OTHER RECIPES BEFORE THIS ONE ,AND EVERY ONE HAS BEEN SPOT ON. GOING TO TRY THE PORK VINDALOO NEXT , KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK. CHEERS MATE...
Friday 27th of April 2018
Thank you very much for that Dave. Great to hear and much appreciated.
Tuesday 14th of March 2017
can you pls give receipe for indian chicken korma
Wednesday 15th of March 2017
Thanks for the suggestion! I have a few already on my list. Coming soon. I do have a nice Bangladeshi shahi murgh korma and an authentic lamb korma already on the site. Just type them into the search on the right hand side.
Thank you, Dan